Vintage Review: How to Lose Friends and Alienate People


Rating: 15    
Release Date: 2008    
Director: Robert Weide
Starring: Simon Pegg, Kirsten Dunst, Megan Fox, Jeff Bridges
Sex: Mild references, with nudity
Violence: No

Language: Several, sometimes strong

‘How To Lose Friends and Alienate People’ is the story of a young British writer who lands a dream job for one of America’s leading fashion magazines; a dream come true for someone who fantasises about rubbing shoulders with the glamorous A-listers. But it isn’t long before he realises that the American “celeb scene” isn’t actually as great as he’d first thought.

The film had a great deal to live up to; surely it couldn’t match the flop that was Toby Young’s career, or the highly successful book based on Young’s real experiences. And you’re right it couldn’t match either; it was far, far worse.

My first problem with this shambles of a film was the casting of Simon Pegg. Now, don’t get me wrong, I loved Pegg in Spaced, Shaun of the Dead and Hot Fuzz, but I couldn’t help thing that he just did not fit this character as all. Pegg made Young look more like a moronic idiot than the slightly naively and star struck Young portrayed in the book. His accent was so over-the-top and unnatural, that you’d really be forgiven if you honestly believed he wasn’t English (this wasn’t unique to Pegg of course; Kirsten Dunst’s American accent seemed just as hammy). In fact, Pegg just made Young too big of a British idiotic, ponce of a stereotype.

All of the books best jokes appeared to have been completely missed out, and the only good jokes that appeared had already been given away in the film’s trailer! And you really felt like Pegg seriously needed a male character (as in the book) to bounce his humour off, rather than Dunst’s character, with whom Pegg had absolutely no screen chemistry with.

Jeff Bridges’ character on the other hand, is exactly as I’d expected him to be; pretentious and full of his own self-importance.

The film was just full of cliché and “silliness”; how Hollywood of the film to have the girl Pegg argues with in the bar is one of his work colleagues – only in Hollywood would this ever happen! And Megan Fox’s drip of a character was just attention-seekingly silly in a way that was trying (and failing) to resemble a 1950’s Marilyn Monroe film. You kind of wanted those hard-arsed balls that we know and love in Fox, from the Transformers films. Fox most certainly plays tough cookie better than an airhead.


How To Lose Friends and Alienate People!? Make them watch this film; that’s how!

Rating: 3 out of 10

Whilst I don't really recommend the film, I do recommend the book by Toby Young (which was apparently based on his own "conquering" of America!):






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